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The Who reckon their newly announced record, Who, is "our best album since Quadrophenia"

It’s been 13 years since the Who released the quite excellent Endless Wire, and now the Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey-led band have announced a follow-up, simply titled Who.

The new effort, the band’s 12th studio record overall, will be released November 22 via Polydor Records.

Pete hasn’t lost it; he’s still a fabulous songwriter, and he’s still got that cutting edge

Roger Daltrey

Song topics on Who cover subjects ranging from the Grenfell Tower fire, musical theft and spirituality to reincarnation, the power of memory and “an old rock star that has lost his marbles.”

Said Daltrey, “I think we’ve made our best album since Quadrophenia in 1973. Pete hasn’t lost it; he’s still a fabulous songwriter, and he’s still got that cutting edge.”

You can decide for yourself with a listen to the album’s first single, Ball and Chain, a tense, politically-charged number with some exceptional lead guitar work throughout, leading to an explosive six-string climax at the outro.

The Who - Who album cover

(Image credit: The Who)

Who was recorded in London and Los Angeles during the spring and summer of 2019, and was co-produced by Townshend and D. Sardy, with vocal production by Dave Eringa.

This time around, Daltrey and Townshend are joined by drummer Zak Starkey and bassist Pino Palladino, both of whom also appeared on Endless Wire, along with contributions from Simon Townshend, Benmont Tench, Carla Azar, Joey Waronker and Gordon Giltrap.

Said Townshend “This album is almost all new songs written last year, with just two exceptions. There is no theme, no concept, no story, just a set of songs that I (and my brother Simon) wrote to give Roger Daltrey some inspiration, challenges and scope for his newly revived singing voice.

“Roger and I are both old men now, by any measure, so I’ve tried to stay away from romance, but also from nostalgia if I can. I didn’t want to make anyone feel uncomfortable. Memories are OK, and some of the songs refer to the explosive state of things today.

I made new home studio demos of all these songs in the summer of 2018 using a wide collection of instruments old and new. We started recording as the Who in March 2019, and have finished now in late August just in time to make some vinyl, maybe even some cassettes, ready for release in November.”

The Who are currently out on the road in the US, with a UK tour slated for 2020.

Who is available for pre-order now.

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Rich is the co-author of the best-selling Nöthin' But a Good Time: The Uncensored History of the '80s Hard Rock Explosion. He is also a recording and performing musician, and a former editor of Guitar World magazine and executive editor of Guitar Aficionado magazine. He has authored several additional books, among them Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck, the companion to the documentary of the same name.